Oct 16, 2020
Chel is an artist that has been working diligently at her craft from the moment she was born. All jokes aside, her parents attest that she came out of the womb singing. Her passion for the music that she creates and powerful vocals have now captured the attention of countless listeners worldwide. It’s the fiery confidence and intense dedication that sets her apart from other up-and-coming artists right now. Also, her inspirational backstory is one that is difficult to forget.
Chel endured intense criticism and the ups and downs of being a young woman in a competitive industry beginning at a young age. After overcoming several hardships and harsh judgment from both her peers and strangers, she decided to keep going and stay motivated. Her struggles caused her to become a body-positive ambassador and role model for young women around the world through both her music and activism. And after everything she went through, it became clear that music was the one constant in her life.
The “Amen” singer’s experiences, creativity, and passion have caused her to be a force to be reckoned with in an evolving industry. In fact, her brand new single, “Nasty Woman,” is destined to become a fan favorite. In an exclusive interview with PopularTV, Chel opens up about her new single, music videos, and more.
1. Your new single ‘Nasty Woman’ is insanely empowering. Where did the initial inspiration come from?
For the holidays, my grandma decided to send each of her grandchildren a little bit of money to do whatever they wanted with it. I decided to take that money and to write a song in honor of my Grandma. My Grandma is one of the most inspiring women I know. She was in the first class of women to go to Wharton Business School. She had 4 children and then went to American University for law school at 45. She was one of only 2 women over the age of 30. She worked for Ralph Nader and she helped pass bills that are still in effect today. She marched to protest the war in Vietnam. She started her own business in a male-dominated field. She put all of her grandchildren through college and for some, graduate school. She has always been a woman without boundaries. She allowed me to see what it is to be a strong woman. She raised 3 strong women and because of the three strong women she raised (who are all equally impressive) she has strong granddaughters. We grew up knowing we could shoot for the stars because she paved the way.
I thought about how there is a trend in the current popular culture of calling strong women “Nasty”. I wanted to make a women’s empowerment anthem that was pretty and gritty all at the same time. I wanted to speak about the fact that women are still paid substantially less to do the same job as a man. Women Olympians make HALF what the men make. I wanted to address women being objectified and turned against each other instead of supporting each other. I don’t believe in superiority, but I believe in EQUALITY. My grandma worked hard for change so that I could have the CHOICE to live the life I live today. The reason this is important to me is that there is still a change that needs to happen all around the world and it is being covered up. I want to make a statement and I want it to be LOUD. I want our daughters and granddaughters to know equality and if I can help move that ball, I want to do so. It is important to do this now because people are listening. With the elections around the corner and a woman as Our Vice-Presidential nomination, there has never been a better time to unite and push for a better future. Why not try to change history and for the first time EVER get a woman Vice President? We can only do this if we unite and fight for change. The time is now!
2. What does the ideal ‘Nasty Woman’ music video look like?
I feel as though we hit the nail on the head with the official Nasty Woman Video. I wanted to show the ways in which women are conditioned from a young age. I also wanted to represent women from all different backgrounds to show that there is no one “right” way to be a woman. I am happy that it is emotionally charged and that you can really feel the message!
3. Speaking of music videos, which of yours, are you most proud of?
I would say I’m most proud of either the video for Amen or the video for I Smell Nice. Both videos portray powerful messages that I feel very strongly about. Amen is about equality and the ways in which we keep reliving our past mistakes throughout history. The ultimate message is that we are all human and should fight for equality and love. I Smell Nice is a video showing me talking to younger me and encouraging her to love herself. It is a self-love video!
4. Of all the songs you’ve released, if you had to pick one that best encompasses you as an artist, what would it be and why?
Since I write all of my songs, they are all a piece of me. I believe in everything I write so my songs are almost like a journal. Stylistically, I would have to say My Name or Nasty Woman best encompass me as an artist. Both songs have some soul to them, and a little bit of rock and I love that!
5. Congratulations on the Sports Illustrated shoot! How did he shoot to come up?
Sports Illustrated hosts an open casting for their magazine every year. I’ve been watching it for the past few years and just missed the deadline last year to submit. This year I made sure to submit on the day castings opened. I love what they are doing to push inclusivity and I would absolutely love to be a part of it. I feel honored that they have featured me on their website and Instagram multiple times through this process.
6. Was being a radio host something that was in your original plan?
Actually, it wasn’t! I moved to LA on a whim about 3 1/2 years ago. I didn’t know anyone or have anyone to work with and was basically starting from square one after a 5-year music career in St. Louis. When someone I met said they might be able to get me a radio show, I ran with it. I had no idea what I was doing at first, but I learned quickly, and it has been such a good experience! I’ve met some amazing people and got much more comfortable with interviews as well as learning how to record and edit my shows and staying up to date on new music!
7. What can we expect from the “Dangerous Curves Ahead” collaboration?
It’s always nice when someone from your hometown champions you. Sydney’s Closet out of St. Louis partnered with Johnathan Kanye to create a high fashion plus size prom line. Not only are they beautiful people, but I love getting to support the body inclusive movement. I remember how hard it was for me to try and find a prom dress that fit, so to become the face of their new collection is everything to me. Let me tell you the 2021 collection will NOT disappoint. It is STUNNING and flatters women of all shapes and sizes!
8. When did you fall in love with music?
I couldn’t say it!! I’ve been singing as long as I can remember and in lessons since I was 5. It’s the only thing I’ve stuck with through my whole life. I’ve always loved it and I’ve always known that I wanted to be a singer!
9. What is a question you wish you got asked more?